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A Different Road Altogether

Doing things I never thought I'd do. I've often avoided writing short stories because I didn't know what to do with them once they were finished. Even after listening to indie authors rave about their self-publishing experiences on Amazon, Nook and elsewhere, I hesitated to join the fun.

There's formatting to consider, editing (which I've been up to my eyeballs in since January), cover images, marketing, on and on. It's whole 'nother barrel of apples compared to trying to make it in the traditional publishing world.

I tentatively stuck my toe in the indie author world by reading Mark Coker's e-book about publishing to Smashwords. I thought, I am tech-challeged, I will never be able to figure this out. But I sat down one evening at home and plunged into his book and I swear, if you plan to self-publish, even if you don't want to put your stuff on Smashwords, read Coker's book. Formatting made easy, even I understood it. Even if you don't want to self-publish at all, read Coker's book. I learned so much. There may come a time when you have an MS you just can't sell and hey, there's the big ol' internet armed with people who have wads of cash and need something for entertainment.

The formatting was super easy. Smashwords takes a while (about a week) to approve your MS for their premium catalog, which distributes it to places likes Sony and Apple and obviously, Amazon and B&N. It takes a while longer for those companies to list you, but in the end it seems easier than trying to figure all that out myself.

Because who has time to figure that out when I have covers to make? Never in a hundred years would I guess I'd be doing this for myself. Being a poor, starving writer, I can't afford to hire someone to do covers for me. Poor, oblivious me, I have no idea how to make a book cover. So I have to learn. I downloaded GIMP because, remember, I'm poor, so I can't buy Photoshop. And I have no idea what was even going on with that program. I fall back to my old standby, Photoscape. Bless you, Photoscape for having buttons that at least give the user the illusion of control.

In a couple of hours, I have two photos that sort of look like book covers and compared to some I've seen that these "artists" are charging $50 and up for, they look downright professional. I will not, however, be quitting my day job to become a graphic designer. I have much to learn.

So I format, I do a cover and I go to upload, only to realize I haven't thought up a blurb. Good going, dingbat. I scramble to think of something intelligent to put in the blurb. There's a very good chance that "intelligent" is too high a compliment for the drivel I typed out. Luckily, it's very easy to change book descriptions in all formats, so when I came up with something less bad, I did that right away.

End result: I accomplished something I didn't attempt for fear of failing miserably. Currently I have made $2.66 in short story sales. So close to wealth and riches... in my dreams. Don't forget to scroll up and purchase your own copies of those stories if you haven't done and check out the new contest page because I still need entries for the copy of RETURN.

Happy holidays and good writing!


  1. I'm really glad you are learning all this techy stuff. You can help me one day. ;-)

  2. WOW! I'm impressed! You will do it and you will do it well--I have the utmost confidence in you and your abilities.

  3. Thank you for this post, Allison! I was quite curious about issues such as formatting and where even to start wwith the self-publishing and it sounds like you've unearthed a valuable resource or two in the process. And kudos to you for designing covers (they look very nice) and the whole gamut...that is quite an undertaking, I'm sure! Good luck and I'll be sure to check out a couple of your stories when I've got a little time! :) Happy writing!


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